How to approach replacing a set of something when only one has been damaged?

by Readers Question

9:44 AM, 25th October 2016
About 2 years ago

How to approach replacing a set of something when only one has been damaged?

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How to approach replacing a set of something when only one has been damaged?

The question arises in relation to pet damage caused to a kitchen unit door.puppies

The property was occupied as a HMO which a group of friends occupied. Two of them jointly requested permission to ‘get a dog’ – which resulted in two puppies (from the same litter) being brought back to the property.

Unfortunately the puppies chewed one of the kitchen unit doors. With one exception (more of which shortly) the kitchen is otherwise immaculate, and whilst the doors would be about six years old, they would have lasted for years to come. On trying to source a replacement door, the units seem to be obsolete. I’ve tried everything to find a suitable replacement, and guttingly the door found after a few hours on eBay, which looked like it should match, doesn’t.

As the look of the otherwise matching and very pleasant kitchen is spoilt by the damaged door(s) and would likewise be spoilt by a non-matching door, it seems that in order to rectify the dog damage, it would be necessary to change all of the doors. In the first instance, I’d be interested in others’ views on this position. And likewise the position in a bathroom (at another house) where a bath panel has been damaged (cracked) and where I’m struggling to find a bath panel which matches the bath, toilet and sink…..

So, from that base position of the validity of charging the tenant for a complete set of comparable doors (about 10 doors) so that the kitchen can be restored to its original consistent appearance, there is an additional factor to take into account with the kitchen: a door has been damaged under the kitchen sink, with water damage. This isn’t mentioned on last year’s written inventories, nor is it evident on the accompanying photos, but I can stomach that being a fair wear and tear issue (albeit that I do think it’s avoidable if care is taken), and for the sake of goodwill, I could accept that it may have had some residual water damage prior to this last year’s occupancy.

There were three tenants in the property, two of whom jointly owned the dogs, and each of the contracts was for a room in the house, but with shared responsibility for the kitchen area.
What sort of calculations would you apply to the costs? I appreciate that the doors weren’t new at the start of the tenancy, and so in one sense would understand a rationale for applying a depreciation formula, but this seems a bit gutting given the condition of the doors generally at the start of the tenancy.

In essence the question is generic about charging for the replacement of a complete SET of something where only ‘one’ has been damaged and a replacement ‘one’ is not available, but a comparable complete replacement set is available – acknowledging that some ‘fair’ cost apportioning may be necessary so that an advantage of new-for-old is not gained (even though the kitchen was as new at the start, and could have lasted years).

I’d be very grateful for any guidance anyone can offer – thank you!

Julie



Comments

Luke P

10:52 AM, 25th October 2016
About 2 years ago

I don't have an answer as such and I guess whatever you do, if contested, will fall to a Judge/deposit protection scheme's interpretation.

Whilst I don't normally have problems with recovery of losses at Court, on one occasion I had a Judge refuse complete replacement of a (small) bedroom carpet due to a full size iron burn...they said the burn made up approx. 5% of the whole carpet and so allowed me 5% of the amount was claiming (under £100 for that particular item). I found that quite a bizarre decision and wondered what the Judge expected me to do insert a brand new piece into the space where the iron mark had been...?

Perhaps you could use this opportunity to replace all the doors at your own expense and just charge the tenant for replacing the damaged ones...unless of course you can replace it with a different type of kitchen unit altogether...plate rack/built-in fridge/wine rack etc?

Barbara Gwyer

10:52 AM, 25th October 2016
About 2 years ago

Galling indeed for you over that kitchen. I don't know what your kitchen layout is like, but could you cut your costs down by just replacing the lower doors in that run with ones in a contrasting colour and leave the other doors as they are?

Jamie M

11:45 AM, 25th October 2016
About 2 years ago

Live with it and move on as there isnt a chance in hell the bodies who might preside over these things will find in your favour. Go to ebay and buy 10 second hand doors or live with the odd one. Put their rent up

Alan Carey

16:54 PM, 25th October 2016
About 2 years ago

Deposit schemes are trained to back the tenant and let them off with just replacing one door and leave the landlord to pick up the bill, (part of why I like so many landlords don't do ast's anymore) usually a court has more common sense, but even if you get a judgement you still have to gett the money from the tenant, but at least this might stop them from renting again if they tell the truth?

Their has to be a change in attitude from the governent etc,, to start protecting landlords from bad tenants before more landlords leave the market and leave a big housing crisis for the government etc to sort out.

Anne Noon

17:12 PM, 25th October 2016
About 2 years ago

I had a similar case, the tenant did considerable damage to the kitchen, which was obsolete and which entailed replacement of the kitchen and the worktops. The case went to the TDC tribunal. I only charged for the items that were noted in the check-out. Needless to say, I did not get all of my money back and had to return some of the tenant's deposit.

The same property had earlier been subject to damage under the sink which the check-out did not notice. I took photographs and had to replace one unit - which cost £600 Fortunately I was able to take the money out of the deposit I held. If it had been up to the agent, the TDC scheme would have refunded the whole of the deposit and I would have been out of pocket yet again. That is the main reason for me to hold the deposit myself.

Alan Carey

17:39 PM, 25th October 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Anne Noon" at "25/10/2016 - 17:12":

If you hold the deposit you are in the wrong, the govenment are only interested in protecting tenants and don't care about landlords.

There needs to be a co ordinated plan by landlaords to make the government realise how stupid this attitude is and the consequences it will have on the rental market.

Lisé Willcox

21:05 PM, 25th October 2016
About 2 years ago

If the tenants/dogs are still there, I would leave it, one day the pooch might get bored and do it again... I have 3 indoor dogs, they chew between 4 months and 2 years old, then again in their elderly years (14 year old staffy with dementia ate a door he took offence too), if they are neglected the same will occur too.

If they are not in residence, perhaps replace them, I use an online door scheme to do this if they are obsolete.

Or if the tenant is complaining, task them with it. Or;

Sand the damage til it's flush, fill it with wood filler, sand it again. Then use frog tape and mark a neat edge above the damage (I'm presuming its on the bottom edge or side). And then mark off the same amount on each door and use a kitchen or cupboard paint, a contrasting colour?.. Use a sponge pad.

Good luck and best wishes

Sounds a cheap fix but if the dogs are still there....

I wish you luck, I've had this with skirting board but as yet not cupboard doors, pity the pups got locked in the kitchen!

Paul Shears

5:04 AM, 28th October 2016
About 2 years ago

Sadly, I agree with Lisé. You can't cure dumb and irresponsible. If you are unfortunate enough to find that you have low calibre tenants then it is utterly pointless you wasting your time and money on them. They will neither thank you for it or even notice. A decent standard of home is simply not on their radar.
It all comes back to being very fussy when you take a new tenant on board.
You sound like a person with standards.
Your tenants do not.
So either wait till they vacate or encourage them to do so via rent rises.
This will give you a true idea of the real rental value of your property.
If poor quality tenants will pay a certain sum then good quality tenants who want a home that they can relax in and invite friends to will pay more.
So after they leave, overhaul the place and set the rent at a higher level.
You may well make a financial loss but your quality of life will improve with better tenants.

Gillian Schifreen

9:18 AM, 29th October 2016
About 2 years ago

With regards to a none matching bath panel. Buy some marine ply and tile it. Use that instead of a panel. Looks very smart. But screw it to a baton under the bath that is easily removable in case you get a leak.

Smithy @hotmail

11:26 AM, 29th October 2016
About 2 years ago

I think this has come up before on one of the property websites.
The general view was that you should consider your type of property. If it is an expensive kitchen in a high quality flat or house, then having non-matching kitchen units could be an issue. In a more modest property, just getting them the same colour is fine. Could you get the same or similar style and paint them to match, or paint all of them? (I recommend Wilkinsons cabinet paint. Other brands are available.)
In a cheap and cheerful property, just putting a working door - with a handle - on the unit will be acceptable. I always put in white kitchen units. As long as any replacements are also white, no-one really notices.
As for the bath panel, I would just buy a wood or wood effect one (again, depends on your type of property).
ps: The last time I took a bath panel off, we found a machete. Says something about the type of tenants I have !


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